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  1. #1
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    Post Inspector should have noticed chimney issues - Contra Costa Times

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    Inspector should have noticed chimney issues
    Contra Costa Times, CA - 9 minutes ago
    It appears, therefore, that your home inspector could be liable for failure to disclose visible defects that were within the scope of a home inspection. ...



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  2. #2
    Jimmy Bacco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspector should have noticed chimney issues - Contra Costa Times

    Interesting note about E & O.
    "
    It appears, therefore, that your home inspector could be liable for failure to disclose visible defects that were within the scope of a home inspection. You should notify him of these conditions and request a reinspection of the fireplace. If he has errors and omissions insurance, a claim may need to be filed."

    Possibly a reason against carring E&O?



  3. #3
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    Default Re: Inspector should have noticed chimney issues - Contra Costa Times

    It appears the letter writer did not give all the details, rather skimpy details but IF he missed that as Barry assumes, the inspector SHOULD have E & O since the inspector did a dis-service to his client. Even if he does not have E & O, the inspector has a duty to his client and should do what it takes to make it right. My guess is that there is MORE to the story though.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  4. #4
    Jimmy Bacco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspector should have noticed chimney issues - Contra Costa Times

    Of course there is more to the story and weather or not the HI should have caught tha is not the point. I find it odd that the writer (who appears to be a HI) commented that they should get after the inspector "If he has E&O". Perhaps I'm reading it wrong, but it seems that if the inspector was indeed negligent weather or not he had E&O should not matter.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Inspector should have noticed chimney issues - Contra Costa Times

    Agreed
    But I would add the individual inspector should step up to the plate if he screwed up, whether or not E & O coverage is in place.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Inspector should have noticed chimney issues - Contra Costa Times

    So in this particular case, after viewing the entire fireplace and chimney system you see deteriorated mortar and other repairs, would you right the report noting the defects and include-

    "Multiple deficiences were noted in the firebox and chimney. Recommend a fireplace/chimney contractor to fully evaluate; preferably one who is a member of the CSIA." or something similar...?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Inspector should have noticed chimney issues - Contra Costa Times

    Yes, but... a typical home inspection does not cover the entire fireplace and chimney. I can't see inside the entire flue.
    As has been said many times, report what you see and what you can't see.
    If you see cracks, don't call it minor or cosmetic, or call for repointing, Call for repair by a qualified xyz person.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Inspector should have noticed chimney issues - Contra Costa Times

    As mentioned, not all details are known to us on this issue. Any SOP that I have ever seen does not require us to walk on a roof. We are not required to use binoculars. I am not advocating such practice but it's feasible that following minimum standards such conditions could be missed. In that case, would an inspector be negligent? I for one will walk a roof up to 6 or 7 in 12. Beyond that I use either 10 or 18 power binoculars. Neither approach is required.

    Also, I wouldn't steer the client into thinking that tuckpointing is all that's necessary if there's loose mortar. The repair could involve more. I see nothing wrong with saying the repair may require nothing more than tuckpointing but in my report I list what I observe and indicate need for repair - no specification for repair is made.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Inspector should have noticed chimney issues - Contra Costa Times

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Also, I wouldn't steer the client into thinking that tuckpointing is all that's necessary if there's loose mortar.
    You just did - below ...

    The repair could involve more.
    Then why "steer the client into thinking that tuckpointing is all that's necessary if there's loose mortar" by saying the below?

    I see nothing wrong with saying the repair may require nothing more than tuckpointing but in my report I list what I observe and indicate need for repair - no specification for repair is made.
    It is not just what is in your report, it is also what you say.

    Imagine you get the call for your E&O from that article, it goes to court, you say "This is what I wrote in my report." (showing the judge your report), then the client says 'But this is what *YOU* *TOLD* *ME* "the repair may require nothing more than tuckpointing" so that's what I based my decision on.' The judge asks you "Did you tell your client that?"

    You now have two choices:
    a) Lie. Saying 'no I did not say that'
    b) Truth. Saying 'yes, I said that'

    If you chose a), then it comes down to who is the judge going to believe (it will likely be the client if they are convincing at all, in part because of other things you said on the stand). In which case your goose is cooked.

    If you chose b), your goose is cooked anyway.

    *NEVER* ... I repeat *NEVER* ... write one thing and then say something else. It can come back to haunt you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Exclamation are you an inspector or estimator?

    I have been watching this thread with interest. If the facts presented are correct, it would appear the home inspector performed an incomplete inspection on the fireplace and chimney then prescripted the repairs without leaving a door open. He mentioned a repair to the fireplace only. We have no information about the condition of the rest of the chimney. Let's for a moment assume he failed to inspect the rest of the fireplace or chimney proper. Already he has failed. This is one of the most common sources of expensive repairs to a home and it was totally overlooked in our "sample" case here. Now, suppose he did a Level II inspection but still only recommended repointing? Then he eats the rest of the chimney. By recommending a repair by category, that is a form of pricing. The agent will ask for a number to put on the problem for the proposal. If your number or level of repair is way off, you have mislead them and should feel some pain.

    Now, suppose he performs a thorough Level II, reports all sorts of missing mortar, loose bricks improper flashing, etc., etc. and recommends a more thorough inspection and consultation with a chimney contractor who specializes in such work. You identify defects by following a National inspection std., NFPA 211, then refer them to a specialized contractor in this field. You make no direct repair recommendations or prescriptions. This tells the buyer:
    a) they have problems
    b) due to the technical nature, you cannot get just anyone so you need a specialist
    c) all this is going to cost money
    d) if there are other hidden defects or problems, that is why you recommended the specialist to find them and HE can recommend a suitable repair or choices.

    The moment you specify/ recommend/ prescribe repairs you make yourself liable for the problem should there be:
    a) more which you failed to warn of or allude to,
    b) problems with the chosen repair
    c) problems in the execution of said repairs
    d) sequelae to the repairs
    e) the repair you prescribed proves ineffective resulting in more losses

    I suggest you stick to what inspectors are supposed to do---inspect, which means reporting on the existing conditions.

    To give an example, I have home inspectors around me getting in trouble because when they advise homeowners of the need for specific repairs such as liners, dampers, flashing, pointing, they love to quote 25 yr old pricing numbers. This only sticks the new buyer with the expense they did not cause and could have negotiated in had you simply reported the defect and leave the dollars to a free market. When inspectors quote pricing for repairs, they are trying to control a market for which they know not and will only serve to get them in trouble as it should.

    How would you like it if I set your pricing??? Just stick to the facts and everyone gets along. This way, the person responsible for the defect, the current owner/ seller picks up the tab.

    My 7 cents worth...
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: are you an inspector or estimator?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harper View Post

    The moment you specify/ recommend/ prescribe repairs you make yourself liable for the problem

    I suggest you stick to what inspectors are supposed to do---inspect, which means reporting on the existing conditions.

    Just stick to the facts and everyone gets along. This way, the person responsible for the defect, the current owner/ seller picks up the tab.
    Bob
    Right on Bob!!

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

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